Pangasinan-Benguet dispute over sitio heats up

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan —The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has thrown its all-out support to the municipality of Sison, Pangasinan asserting its jurisdiction over Sitio Saguitlang in Barangay Labayug, Sison being claimed by the municipality of Tuba, Benguet.

In a resolution passed during its regular session on Monday, the SP endorsed and expressed its support to the assertion made by the local government of Sison that Sitio Saguitlang in Barangay Labayug, is part of its territorial jurisdiction.

Fifth District Board Member Rosary Gracia Perez-Tababa, sponsor of the resolution, admitted that the long unresolved boundary dispute between Sison, Pangasinan and Tuba, Benguet heated up anew when the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Tuba has passed a resolution requesting proper government agencies “to deliver its share in the utilization of natural resources in its area by the Northern Cement Corporation (NCC)”.

In response to the Tuba resolution, the SB of Sison has passed its own Resolution No. 17-066 strongly emphasizing that Sitio Saguitlang is a territorial and administrative portion of Barangay Labayug, a distinct and lawfully mandated barangay of Sison.

Sison Mayor Danilo Uy, maintaining that Sitio Saguitlang is part of his town, has earlier appealed for support from the SP against the claim of Tuba, Benguet.

Tababa said Sitio Saguitlang where NCC is conducting its extraction activity comprises 1,560 hectares, adding that since it started its operations 50 years ago, the company has been paying extraction fees, real property taxes and mining taxes yearly to Sison town.

In sponsoring the measure, Tababa said that NCC ever since has recognized that the area (Sitio Saguitlang) as within the territorial jurisdiction of the municipality of Sison.